Mesozoic Era Late Cretaceous Period Dinosaurs Oviraptor


Quick Facts
Name Meaning:Egg Seizer
Time Period:Late Cretaceous, 80 Ma
Length:10 ft (3 m)
Weight:20 kg (44 lb)
Linnaean Classification
Cladistic Classification
  • Dinosauria
    • Saurischia
      • Theropoda
        • Tetanurae
          • Avetheropoda
            • Coelurosauria
              • Tyrannoraptora
                • Maniraptoriformes
                  • Maniraptora
                    • Oviraptorosauria
                      • Caenagnathoidea
                        • Oviraptoridae
                          • Oviraptorinae
                            • Oviraptor


The Oviraptor was discovered in 1924 by an American expedition in Mongolia. It was found near several dinosaur egg nests. These eggs were thought to belong to the herbivore Protoceratops, thus it was assumed that the Oviraptor was an egg thief, and therefore earned its name. However, in the 1990s an expedition found more of the same eggs with fossilized embryos of Oviraptors inside. Later another Oviraptor was found sitting atop a nest of the same eggs. It was therefore concluded that the eggs did in fact belong to the Oviraptor. So far approximately 15 eggs have been found.


The Oviraptor was a strange dinosaur and was one of the most birdlike. The features in its ribs were stiff and very much like today's birds. It was likely feathered as many of its relatives are. Also the find made in the 1990s of a Oviraptor in a brooding position suggest that it had feathered arms similar to wings in order to cover the nest. It was originally thought to be an egg stealer but it was later determined that the eggs, thought to be stolen, were its own eggs and the dinosaur was a brooder. It had a short snout and a toothless beak. Because of the Oviraptor's lack of teeth it is unknown what it ate, however, being a theropod it was most likely to be at least partially carnivorous. It had hands with three claws each as well as three toes on each foot. It's tail was long and stiff giving it great speed when it ran. A distinguishing feature was the crest located above its snout. This crest was probably used for display, species recognition, or for mating.

ScienceViews Writer: Jason Hamilton.

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